Publication: Prism Volume: 1 Issue: 15

Prism Interview: Konstantin Borovoi speaks out against organized crime

Borovoi: "The Mafia Controls the Entire Economy"

– The interview with Konstantin Borovoi, president of the Partyof Economic Freedom, was conducted for Prism by YevgenyKrasnolobov, a correspondent for Moscow’s "Open Radio."

Prism: In a little over a week, two bankers were killedin Moscow, including one who was the president of one of the largestbanks in Russia. In your opinion, was this a coincidence or arecertain political forces seeking to put pressure on the majorbusinesses of Russia?

Borovoi: A wave of terror is picking up force. Obviously,this is a criminal wave. I have evidence that shows that thecriminal world is no longer satisfied with its take from legitimatebusinesses but wants to control them outright. The murder ofYugorsky bank president Kanter was clearly intended to send amessage to all businessmen that the mafia will stop at nothingto take over. Unfortunately, we have to admit that the law enforcementagencies are implicated as well. Their inaction and involvementwith the criminal world have created a situation where criminalscan kill with the knowledge that they’ll never be caught.

In 1991, every example of corruption was a media sensation. Now, there is so much that no one even comments on it. Casesare announced but never brought to trial. Senior officials stealand go unpunished. And in this sense, Yeltsin himself must sharesome of the guilt for the murder of Oleg Kantor. Immediate andeffective responses to crimes are needed but nowhere to be found. Instead, Yeltsin appoints a crony rather than a specialist tohead the FSB and names a similar man as minister of the interior. We can’t expect any changes until there have been elections forthe parliament and the president. And possibly not even then.

Prism: In your opinion, how much of the country’s economydoes the mafia now control?

Borovoi: Practically all major commercial structures -not to speak of smaller ones – must pay tribute to the criminalworld. As a result, I think we have to say that today the mafiacontrols 100% of the economy.

Prism: Suppose I am a beginning entrepreneur. I want to set up my business. I don’t violate any laws or usecriminals for my capital, and I don’t launder money. Nonetheless,you suggest that the mafia will get its cut from me.

Borovoi: Sooner or later, it will. They will laundermoney through you. They will sign an agreement with you thatyou won’t be able to refuse. And those who say this is just partof the workings of the market are wrong. Bandits never could,can’t now, and will not, I hope, be able to run the market, theeconomy, and the country. I don’t have any exact statistics,but I think that 30 percent of the enterprises are closing asa result of the actions of organized crime.

Prism: What is your prediction for the future?

Borovoi: To put it mildly, I expect things to get stillworse. The fusion of the criminal world and the state apparatusis all too possible. I do not think our people will vote forthese thieves. Chernomyrdin’s "Russia is Our Home"bloc won’t get the percentage of voters they expect. But thebureaucrats will take the bandits on as partners.

Prism: In this case, who will rule whom: the bureaucratsthe bandits or the bandits the bureaucrats?

Borovoi: I have often talked about this before. The criminalgroups arose with the help of the KGB, which saw them as usefultools-dogs on a chair, if you will-to control the cooperativesin 1986-87. Now, the leaders of the criminal groups openly speakabout such ties. There is an interrelationship. But I believethat the country’s security services have lost control over thesesituations.

Prism: Is there a way out?

Borovoi: Only by replacing the current people in power. We must begin by ending the protectionism of the highest levelsover the criminal world. And we must learn what organized crimeis. A Spanish friend of mine said once that the mafia is whenthe daughter of the mayor is the wife of a banker. And that isall. We however still do not see the differences between legaland illegal, between moral and immoral. Crimes are now seen assomething entirely normal. Unfortunately, too, the current rulersdon’t believe they must fear the population.